I was in the grocery store carefully picking through packs of organic chicken legs. They were buy one get one free which made buying chicken that day a little like playing a card game such as Go Fish or Memory. It’s important to find a price match or it isn’t really a win. Wilson Phillips was singing Hold On (For One More Day) somewhere in the background completely oblivious to poultry-buying strategy. My brain was maxed out from using math and matching skills simultaneously, so I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics of their song.
Then I heard the line, “Or are you comfortable with the pain?” I froze much like the shrink-wrapped chicken I was cataloging. I looked around trying to understand why this moment suddenly felt less mundane. Why a line from a song I have heard countless times stood out as significant.
Had I, the girl who carries a small pharmacy in my purse, somehow become comfortable with pain? It seemed like such a ridiculous notion amidst the Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, and pain analgesics that I carry in bulk like a Red Cross volunteer ready for war. Of course, everyone experiences physical and emotional pain on occasion but accepting it as the norm seems as defeatist as throwing your hand in Go Fish or not taking the free chicken in the buy one get one deal. Who does that? Read more
I am not sure how it started. I think there was a picture frame hanging on the wall that I thought was too small. In an attempt to fix it, I moved every single piece of furniture in my living room and adjacent dining room. Even though I feign weakness when there is something to lift that weighs more than three pounds, if there is furniture I want to move and no one is around to help, I become the unknown twin sister of the Incredible Hulk. Of course, it’s not pretty to turn the color of the jolly green giant but to be able to move ginormous slabs of wood around the room, one has to sacrifice vanity for vein-popping strength.
I know you aren’t sure where this is going because that’s how it is when you move furniture from wall to wall trying to see what looks best. You try one thing, decide it’s meh, flex the muscles, and drag it in a different direction. It’s really a lot like life. One little crooked sin that we tell ourselves is just a small defect becomes a catalyst for chaos. We ignore it and focus on all the righteous things about ourselves – we don’t beat our children, we call our mothers, and we return the shopping cart to that little island that is nowhere near our parked cars (most of the time). There are a lot of things we do right – that makes us good people. Since we figure sin is inevitable, we minimize our particular habit of hurting God. What’s one measly sin – usually the one we make over and over again – really going to hurt?
After purging the china cabinet, armoire, and buffet of their contents so that nothing would break when huffing and puffing furniture to different walls, the house looked like a hoarder’s delight and a husband’s horror. But, I knew it could be made tidy again and began the tedious work of putting tchotchkes in their place. That’s when I noticed a giant scratch traversing the floor from my living room to my dining room. It read like a road map of a wayward wife who watched too much HGTV. So smitten with all that I had done right in the room – the balance, scale, and symmetry I created – I ignored the scratch.